Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Swedish Mannequins Spark Internet Praise-A-Thon

By Elise Solé, Shine Staff | Healthy Living A clothing store in Sweden is being hailed by women around the world after a photo of two surprisingly curvy mannequins were photographed and posted online. More on Yahoo! Shine: Are These Plus-Size Mannequins Progressive or Just Weird? Dressed in skimpy lingerie, the mannequins displayed softer stomachs, fuller thighs and generally more realistic proportions than the traditional department store models. For comparison, most mannequins in the U.S. are between a svelte size 4 or 6—a departure from the average American woman who is a size 14. More on Yahoo! The Mannequins Are Watching You On Tuesday, a blogger at Women's Rights News posted a photo of the department store mannequins to Facebook and the response was overwhelming. "It's about time reality hit..." wrote one out of almost 2,500 commentators. "Anybody saying these mannequins encourage obesity or look unhealthy, you have a seriously warped perception of what is healthy. I guarantee the "bigger" mannequin in the front there represents a perfect BMI" wrote another. As of Thursday, the photo had garnered almost 50,000 likes and shared almost 15,000 times. That's a lot of attention for a hunk of fiber glass and plastic. There were rumors that the mannequins were on display at H&M in Sweden but a spokesperson told Shine: "The image is not from an H&M store. At this time, we are not using this type of mannequin, but we do not rule of the possibility of doing so in the future." Mannequins have been around for thousands of years but their function in fashion is fairly recent, first appearing in store windows in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution when window panes were installed in stores to display the latest fashion trends. Throughout WW1 and the Depression, mannequins changed their outfits and body proportions to reflect society at that time. Cut to the 1960s, when British mannequin firm Rootstein began modeling their dolls after pop culture and fashion icons to reflect runway trends at the time. Modern-day mannequins have long been critiqued for having tiny proportions. In 2007, British health officials demanded that stores on London's fashionable High Street stop using stick-thin models in an effort to reflect the wide range of sizes and shapes of British women. In 2010, Club Monaco came under fire for featuring mannequins with protruding spines and clavicles. And in 2011, GAP was chastised by bloggers for mannequins with bone-thin legs modeling the "Always skinny" jeans display. “I'm wondering what the internal project name for this was at Gap HQ,” wrote one blogger. "Death-camp chic’? ‘Ana Pride’? ‘Famine fashion forward?" And male mannequins haven't escaped scrutiny either. In 2010, Rootstein debuted male dolls under their "Young and Restless" collection modeled after teenage boys with 35-inch chests and 27-inch waists. The company had to defend its decision to use smaller models to eating disorders groups. As much as the public contests these down-sized mannequins, when designers have attempted to create dolls that reflect real-life proportions they're met with criticism, even disgust. In late 2012, when a Reddit user posted a photo of an "obese mannequin" in satire, commentary ranged from "Ew, fat people", "It's embarrassing how obese America is" and the amusing, "He's not fat, just big foamed." A recent published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that women's self- esteem takes a nosedive when exposed to models of any size, so maybe there is no easy answer. But as long as mannequins are influencing people to buy fashion, reflecting real-life bodies is a step in the right direction.

Lean In

I just finished this incredible book, “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. You may have heard about it; it’s been in the news recently. Sandberg, famous for working at Google and now, Facebook, has sent this signal flare to women- and humankind at large. She believes women should go full steam ahead, especially when it concerns their careers, “leaning in.” In a speech, she includes the following… “…I hope you have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world. Because the world needs you to change it. Women all around the world are counting on you.” Whew! Who’s revved up and/or overwhelmed? But yes, bravo, for that statement! So, yes, you can probably guess the tone of the book. Sandberg addresses several topics, including women’s fear/holding back issues, success and likeability, the myth of doing it all and the importance of talking about the issue openly in not just the workplace, but also everyday life. Equality between the sexes still doesn’t exist. In spite of great strides in society, feminism and a more dominant presence of women in the marketplace, sexism, discrimination, sexual harassment and a negative perception of women, coming from BOTH genders, still exists. She doesn’t flinch from the tricky reality. We can, all too often, get squeamish with it. It’s more comforting to say things are equal and great for everyone. But women are still facing uphill battles, having to prove themselves more than men. It’s the way it is and no, it’s no right. Sandberg encourages us to discuss the reality. She advocates greater support, championing and changes which are conducive, not hostile toward women. Again, bravo. And, as I was reading the book, the Proverbs 31 Woman was never far from my mind: "10A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31:10-31 I do recommend reading this wonderful book. Knowledge- and support of women, the women in our lives and our very selves- are both powerful and vital! Let’s lean in to that today!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What God says, a reminder from Mr. Rogers...

Amen!!! So true! God loves and accepts you now- right now!!! “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3

"The Sweet Stuff," March Issue of Serene Scene

Cruse's article, "The Sweet Stuff" is featured in the March issue of Serene Scene Magazine.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Hamster Wheel

Article published by Christians In Recovery... the hamster wheel of addiction and disorders...

Bubble Wrap

When I saw this image, I cracked up. Most of us love the popping of bubble wrap. It can be addictive. You start with popping just one bubble and then an hour goes by and you now have a deflated section of what was once cushion-y bubble wrap packing material. But hey, it is a great stress reliever. And in today’s stressful world, we often find ourselves needing to pop. What if God’s Word was spiritual bubble wrap? What if we could get that same kind of relief/comfort/happiness from applying His Word to our lives and situations? It starts by shifting our perception of all things God and Bible related? Do we see it as relevant and worthless or pointless and even harmful? What do we choose to go to in times of stress? God says He’s there already to help us… Jesus… “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14:1 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 Do we turn here, to this incredible option? If not, why not? Ever heard the expression, “let Jesus be your co-pilot?” How about letting Jesus be your bubble wrap? He’s there to help you with any and ALL stress! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Monday, March 18, 2013

Believe Yorkie

Hammocking: Put on Jesus

I’m going to mention my cats, because, once again, I find inspiration and reminders of God’s Word from them. Since they were kittens, our two, Gracie and Glory have become accustomed to something we call “hammocking.” It’s when a cat sits on your lap, but only if there is an outstretched t-shirt or sweatshirt involved. Since high school, I’ve sat this way: cross-legged with a shirt covering my knees. Anyway, the cats love it, but I’m sure those of you who are cat owners know, each cat has its own unique personality. And that brings me to Gracie. She’s a diluted calico, notorious for her “Tortitude.” She’s quite selective. She will only hammock on me if I’m wearing a particular sweatshirt. I’m sure God has a sense of humor here because it’s a “Jesus” sweatshirt. That’s right; Jesus’ face is on it. She only seems to hang out with me when I wear it. I have tried other shirts. Glory, her sibling, will sit on me wearing almost any shirt. Her only exception is stripes; she hates stripes. Please don’t ask me why. But Gracie, when she’s in a hammocking mood, will send me restless signals, giving me that silent meow stare, crouching and yes, peeping until I do what I’m told by her. And that usually means I need to get up, find that sweatshirt, assume the hammock position and tap the tightly strung article of clothing until she hops over. Five- four-three-two- one- there she springs, launched, via her behind wriggling action, from her perch spot to the hammock shirt. And, from there, she expects me to stay cooperative, motionless and quiet for however long she deems necessary. She’s a cat, after all. I’m merely doing her bidding. But it made me think about “putting on things.” We’re encouraged to do that in scripture: “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesian 6:11-17 In life, responding to significant issues, just putting on “any old thing” won’t cut it. It has to be Jesus. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27 “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14 Accept no substitutes. We can chase our solutions, but, in the end, Jesus makes all the difference. Gracie reminds me of this every blooming day! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Proof that beauty defies culture “standards.” Tina Turner, age 73, is the oldest celeb to grace the cover of Vogue Magazine. She’s a real woman, who has lived a real life. She’s overcome adversity. She has an incredible voice which stands the test of time. She’s proof of the comeback. Inspiring! She’s proof to us all that it ain’t over until it’s over! Never count yourself out!!!!

You're Beautiful

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Hope Rope

Hope. For those of us dealing with addictions, compulsions and disordered eating, it can seem like an impossible reality. Often, we feel hopeless. There are even those of us who have thought about or attempted suicide. Because of such things as personal issues, past traumas, abuse or relationship challenges, we can often find ourselves in a place which appears to be hopeless. We can feel as if, like this rope image here, we are barely hanging on. But we are never without hope; we always have God. It may not feel like that’s the reality, but it is, nevertheless. God loves us and is intimately aware and concerned about anything concerning us. It doesn’t matter how trivial it may seem. It doesn’t matter if it’s failure, addiction, disorders or any other thing. After all… “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 That means nothing can disqualify you from God’s love. It’s not about being “perfect” or “good enough.” He loves you because He loves you. Period. Therefore, we can have hope in that unchanging love. “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.” Psalms 39:7 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Psalms 43:5 And God does have a life filled with love, help, a good future and blessings for you: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 Each of us needs to go through challenges. Life is not a perfect thing. There is pain, loss and sorrow. It happens to all of us: “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 There is, indeed, a purpose to everything you’re experiencing; nothing in your life is ever in vain: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” 1 Peter 1:6-8 There is hope for you. Hang onto that rope; God already knows the challenges you face. He is for you, not against you. Grab ahold of that rope, wherever you are, today! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Heigh- Ho

The famous scene of the seven dwarves going off to work in a single file has us all humming or singing “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it’s off to work we go…” C’mon. You’ve done it; I’ve done it. It’s one of those famous Disney earwigs. But, besides being a song to motivate us for our work, I see something else here as well. I see a reminder of tenacity. Tenacity- often, it’s not one of those giddy character traits we tend to enjoy so much. More often, it’s tedious, frustrating, trying. We, as human animals, want what we want when we want it. We want something now, in an exact, rewarding way. But life, of course, usually doesn’t operate to our specifications. Tenacity- heigh ho. Are we there yet? Our dreams, goals and aspirations are, indeed, possible. But we each need to keep at it, whatever that “it” represents. It begins wish the simple asking. We need to make our request known. And God needs to be the first “go-to” Source in that: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7 And then, there’s the work- the seeking. Yeah, we have to do some things. Whether it’s personal or professional, we have to do our homework. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7 And then, like the instructions on a shampoo bottle, we have to “repeat.” This is the knocking… “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7 And knocking… And knocking… And, well, did I mention tenacity? Sigh here. Again, I know it’s frustrating, but there are some things which don’t have a “no” attached to them. They just have a “not yet.” When I began writing my book, “Thin Enough,” its origin was in 1995. And, naively so, I believed, because I was so on fire about it, the book would somehow manifest, in perfection, in about two weeks or less. Nope. Like I said, I was naïve. What was more accurate about its completion was a few years later. Alright. Let’s get real. The book was published in- get ready for it- 2006. Those of you out there who love doing the math can count up the years. That was not a part of my plan. But my original plan for the book was that it would not be a book at all; I wanted “Thin Enough” to be this avante garde performance art piece. What it turned into, however, after years, rewrites and a complete about face, was more along the lines of a Christian self-help book. There were times in those years I was frustrated, anxious, hopeless; there were times I gave up on the project. But tenacity- or maybe it’s just my stubborn nature. Whatever it was, somehow, in some way, I kept at it. God wouldn’t let me abandon it. Could it be that, all along, He decided He wanted to do this thing through, with and often, in spite of me? Hmmm. Tenacity. It’s not jump up and down fun bouncy houses. But it’s necessary. And it has its rewards. Heigh Ho. What’s going on with you now? What are you waiting on, hoping for? Have you asked, knocked, repeated knocking and are currently waiting for it to open for you? Delay doesn’t mean denial. Just some heigh ho repetition. Never give up hope. We never know how close we are to a breakthrough. But we only move further away if we completely abandon our desired goal. Wherever you are in the process, please keep Luke 11:9-13 in mind: “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” God has not forgotten you. He knows exactly where you are. So, heigh ho, heigh ho, off to God you go! You’ll get there! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Monday, March 11, 2013

About That “Boys don’t like fatties, dear” Belief…

I saw an illustration of a mother/daughter duo from the 1950’s, both wearing those belted “shirt dresses,” smiling at one another, while cinching in their belts. Yeah, that makes for all kinds of smiles, doesn’t it? And there was an equally wonderful caption to go along with it, of course: “Boys don’t like fatties, dear.” Ah, yes, isn’t that amusing! The entire thing just brought back too many unpleasant mother/daughter diet buddy memories of my own. Pineapple only diets. Food scales. Measuring tape. And yes, using the same belt, week by week, to measure progress and see whether or not we cinched in yet another belt hole. And, while my mother never directly used the phrase, “Boys don’t like fatties, dear,” she did, however, frequently used the phrase, “when you and I get down to our right weight…” The subtext? I saw it as “If we just get ‘thin enough,’ life will be perfect, happy and problem-free.” Yeah, no problem, whatsoever, with receiving and trying to live out that message! And that message or the “boys don’t like fatties, dear,” message still rang loudly enough in my ears to exacerbate my own budding eating disorders, food, weight and body image issues as a teenager and a young woman. In high school, I certainly encountered the rejection, rude comments and bullying from both sexes. Dateless Friday and Saturday nights, unacknowledged Valentine’s Days and nada on the prom situation only solidified the message of appearance’s importance for my life and destiny. The ancient 1950’s thought of ““boys don’t like fatties, dear,” emphasized how to catch and keep a husband. But it speaks to something larger… It speaks to obtaining a higher, happier quality of life, the “American Dream,” the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, etc. Whatever “it” is, it’s worth having, trying and sacrificing for. Hence, the dieting, the obsessing, the constant unease all become mandatory; it’s all about not being “good enough.” “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:16 And that, unfortunately, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy… “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” Proverbs 23:7 We believe the hype; we believe THE WRONG hype! Scripture warns us all about doing just that. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 Whether or not I knew it or wanted it to be so, believing the harmful lies became a toxic issue for me. It contributed to anorexic, bulimic and self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. It almost killed me. And it didn’t need to be that way. In my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder,” I mention my wonderful husband’s reaction to my eating disorder past. He told me he loved me, that I was beautiful- and he hugged me. I’ve learned a lot about acceptance from Russell since. And I think it has a lot to do with the truth that Russell has the heart of an incredible man, not an immature boy. There’s a tremendous difference. Any child can call someone a name, bully or trip someone else. But a mature, loving, intelligent person operates from decency. And that’s what you and I deserve. It we’re catching ourselves putting up with abuse and mistreatment of any sort, from others or from ourselves, (we, often, can be our own worst bullies), then we need to examine the scripture of Proverbs 4:23. What issues are spilling into our lives? What are those issues doing to us? God wants different things for us. For starters… “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 Let’s live that future and hope; let’s make decisions which support that Truth. And let’s not forget love… “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12 And that, often, must start with ourselves. What can we do today, right now, to love and not hate ourselves? Let’s prize those Truths! We’re worth it; God thinks we are! “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

"Jairus' Daughter"

Cruse's article, "Jairus' Daughter" is featured in "Christians In Recovery" Magazine, highlighting its powerful impact in her recovery.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

To Something...

Hmmm. Makes you think...

Diet awareness starts so young...

This brought back my own mother-daughter diet buddy memories. So sad. We need to remember that young eyes are watching. An Australian mom was horrified when she found a piece of scratch paper with the word “Diyet” scrawled across the top among the “Polly Pockets and friendship bracelets” on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s room. The paper outlines her daughter’s weight-loss plan and reads: 17 pooshups 2 times a day 16 star jumps 2 time a day 2 yoget 3 appals 1 per 2 keewee froots 5 glases of water Rid my bike 3 times a day Rariry a meniy thing as you can find Jog/run up and down the driv way 3 times (Before you attack her spelling keep in mind that most schools initially encourage kids to spell phonetically.) Amy Cheney, a writer and mother of three, shared the list on the Australian lifestyle site Mama Mia, where she writes with humor and emotion about the thoughts that ran through her mind when she found this upsetting piece of paper. Diyet. Jesus. Where did she learn the word diet? How does she even know what a freaking diet is? Whose fault is this? Is it mine because I let her play with Barbies? Because sometimes she’s allowed to watch Total Drama Action? Is it because when I draw with her I can only draw stick figures? She goes on: How did this happen? I am smart about this stuff. I have a degree in early childhood studies. Our family focuses on and promotes healthy eating and healthy bodies. Our attitudes are reasonable and balanced. Weight has never been an issue in our home – it is, for the most part, irrelevant. Read the full post at Mama Mia. I think that I’d be equally troubled if I found a similar list in the room of my skinny-as-a-rail 10-year-old who swims three times a week, plays basketball, goes to dance class and doesn’t have a single ounce of body fat on her even though she always finishes her cake at birthday parties. I’d like to think that my daughter will never have to worry about going on a serious diet because she learns to love her body, eat everything in moderation and remains active throughout her life. But the reality is that in the industrialized world the media and the food industry send our children confusing and unhealthy messages around food and body image. You’ve got fast-food chains dishing up triple-patty burgers, coffee chains pushing sugary drinks that pack in almost half the calories you need in a day and food companies cramming addictive amounts of salt and artificial flavoring into their chips. These companies are helping drive a scary obesity epidemic that’s leaving young children with serious body weight issues. On the other side of things, the fashion mags are filled with images of gorgeous models who’ve been airbrushed and Photoshopped to have impossibly perfect skin and skinny waists. Hollywood and the music and fashion industries are telling our girls to be pretty and thin. It’s no wonder that a survey conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) found between 40 to 60 percent of children age 6 to 12 are worried about how much they weigh, and 70 percent would like to be skinnier. A survey by the Keep It Real campaign found that 80 percent of 10 years olds have already been on a diet. Suddenly the fact that this Australian mom found a diet plan in her daughter’s room isn’t so surprising. And the fact that my own daughter recently told me about her friend who was on a diet isn’t so surprising either. Yet as parents we want to keep our kids away from that world of obsessing over every little crumb and looking into the mirror and feeling fat for as long as possible. Seven year olds shouldn’t be worrying about fitting in their push-ups every day. Rather they should be playing tag on the front lawn, chasing little brothers, shooting hoops at the playground. And they shouldn’t be counting calories. Instead they should be freely eating healthy foods and occasionally indulging in treats without any guilt. Many thanks to Amy Cheney over at Mama Mia for sharing her daughter’s note because it’s a great reminder to us all to talk to our kids about feeling good about their bodies, and these conversations might need to start earlier than you ever imagined.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"What's My Spinach"

Cruse's article, "What's My Spinach" is published in an early March issue of Christians In Recovery Magazine, discussing addiction's powerful impact.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Snake In Us

I recently read a blog post by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, talking about how, in the Hebrew language, the words for copper and snake are made up of the same root letters. When you look at the word “copper,” the word “snake” rests within the word. Charming, huh? So, it got me to thinking about how that devious snake behavior can hang out in us. Right from the start of this human experience thing, the “serpent” has been a part of the picture. In Genesis 3:1-24, we can see his tricky tactics. And, because of humanity’s screw up, each one of us now has to wrestle with a little snake of our own. You can call it temptation, a character flaw or a weakness, but each one of us has, in some way, fallen for the trick of the snake inside us. Let’s start looking first at how we doubt God. Again, it started in Genesis… “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” Genesis 3:1 Whether it’s doubts of God loving us, being real and relevantly at work, or whether it’s about our participation in treatment programs and healthy lifestyle choices, there’s that little dangling question in the temptation, isn’t there. Things like… “You don’t need to believe in God to have a great life, right?” “Just lose another five pounds, then you’ll be perfect, right?” “You don’t need to call your sponsor, right?” “You don’t need to keep up with your recovery program, right?” “You don’t need to tell the truth about what you’re doing, right?” It doesn’t take much for us to just embrace, ever so slightly, that wrong thought. And that wrong thought leads to another, followed by a wrong action. And so on, and so on… And then we believe the lie. It may be the tiniest lie, comprised of only one sentence. But from it, other lies are added. And we never know the full damage which can come from believing just that one lie. No one believes taking one drink, doing drugs just once or going on just one diet will end up taking us to such a hopeless place. One of the greatest lies we often buy into? “Just this one time.” But it never quite goes like that, does it? It didn’t for me, with my eating disorder behavior. I chronicle the eating disorder experience I lived through in my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.” Being an overweight child turned into dieting, which turned into anorexia, and, by my sophomore year of college, had spun out of control into bulimia… “…However, I couldn’t stop the changes going on in my body. It started out with a shift in my thinking. I found myself more obsessed and tortured by food. Suddenly I wanted food right now! And after all, I was eighty pounds. I could afford a little something to eat, right? I was nervous. This went against everything I’d been working for. Do something on my forbidden list?...But my hunger went beyond a growling stomach. True starvation will make you entertain thoughts you wouldn’t dare think otherwise… …Nothing else mattered anymore. Everything else was fuzzy around me: right and wrong, other people, God, consequences. Just food mattered. But things were different now. Innocence toward food was gone. I couldn’t simply “just eat” again. You can’t go back once you’ve been down my road. It’s never again quite as simple as “eat.” I suddenly became aware of all the food around me: food that I had sworn off, food I’d forbidden. When my alone in our apartment, I was tortured by my roommates’ food. I was hungry. And I was tempted. “Come on, just this once, and then you’ll get back on track.” “Come on, your roommates will never miss this food. They’ll never know it’s gone. Besides, it’s just this once, and then you’ll get back on track.” I’d always believed that stealing was wrong, one of the commandments, right? But I was so hungry, right and wrong didn’t matter… …I repeated my new vow, “I’ll do this just one time.” One time became always… …It’s amazing how things sneak up on you. For years now I’d been in denial about my issues with food and weight. First, I convinced myself that I could hide my weight with clothing and sheer will. Then, I was in denial about being too thin, convincing myself that I could cover it too. And now, here I was, trying to convince myself that this third eating disorder, bulimia, wasn’t a reality. It was a “just this one time” thing… …I started each day with good intentions, but my cravings and my body were turning on me. Temptation was too strong now…Bulimia was making all the decisions now. I didn’t have the control to decide my “right weight” anymore. It was deciding me. It became my cruel, demanding god. It was all I ever thought about…” It was just one thought which led me here. Just do this one time; it’s harmless. See yourself and your own little version of that snake-like thought? And then we believe our ego/the hype. That ego drive or hype can be when we’re thin, beautiful, popular, accepted or in control. Those are the usual suspects when it comes to addictions and disorders. Some unmet need is driving those things. We look at a substance, a behavior a thing or a person to be that all providing god to us and make us better than the inferior creature we so often feel we are. Our insecurities want to believe there will be something more to us, to make up for all of the pain. Never mind the fact that God has already created us to be loved and valuable already. “Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…” Isaiah 43:4 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14 “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9 No, somehow, that’s not enough; we want more. Ah, yes, the faulty promise of more. It doesn’t quite deliver, but we chase it, all the same. And so, just like Adam and Eve, we get lured by the “more” of our egos and the promised hype… “‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ “And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:5-6 In short, just like Adam and Eve’s desire for knowledge, we want to be God. Pretty, isn’t it? And, maybe for a time, when things seem to be going our way, we feel we are God. But sooner or later… reality… “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where [art] thou?’ Genesis 3:8-9 Yikes! Caught! And then we hide. “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.’” Genesis 3:10 Brilliant plan, huh? But before we laugh and point at Adam and Eve too much, let’s look at our own hide and seek game plan. Concerning our behaviors, whether it is things like denial, deceit or outright hiding, that snake in us does not want to be forthright in any way whatsoever. We’d rather hide and hope the problem goes away by itself. It doesn’t. Why? It’s because we can’t run away from ourselves- and our inner, sneaky snakes. That reality doesn’t feel great when we get confronted with ourselves… “And he said, ‘Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?’ Genesis 3:11 Oh, goody. And then we blame. “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.’ And the LORD God said unto the woman, ‘What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.’” Genesis 3:12-13 Yeah, the blame game is so effective. Whether it’s Adam and Eve in the garden or a five year old trying to blame a sibling or family pet for eating a forbidden cookie, we love the scapegoat thing. That inner snake does not want to accept responsibility- and face consequences. Nope. We’d rather get away with whatever we want to get away with and have someone else pick up the tab. Yay. So, things look hopeless. It’s all the more reason for God. “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7:18-25 We cannot escape our human nature. Nothing we do or don’t do can make us “together” enough. We all need God; we all need a Savior. Let’s remember that the next time our snake gets feisty again. Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Now it's the thigh gap obsession...

Saw this article today. I thought there wasn't anything else to obsees about on the humna body. WRONG (Sigh) Thigh Gap A Growing Obsession Online... But Not Necessarily At The Surgeon's Office The Huffington Post | By Ellie Krupnick "I used to think there was just fat and skinny," a wise girl once told us. "But apparently there's lots of things that can be wrong on your body." These days, that body insecurity of choice seems to be the size of ones inner thighs -- more specifically, the presence of "thigh gap." Women, but mainly teen girls, are seeking an elusive inch or two between the upper thigh, the kind you can see right through when a Victoria's Secret Angel makes her way down the runway. The desire for such slim thighs is apparently so strong, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday, that plastic surgeons are seeing a rise in demand for thigh-specific cosmetic procedures. One British cosmetic clinic, LoveLite, told the Daily Mail they've seen a 240 percent rise in demand for procedures like lipoglaze, which freezes up fat cells so they die and disappear. But not every young girl and her BFF are rushing to the plastic surgeon to achieve thigh gap -- in fact, the thigh gap "trend" may not be one at all. Dr. Robert Murphy, American Society of Plastic Surgeons president-elect, told us that the upper-thigh region "has always been an area on concern." "So 'heroin chic' has been replaced by thigh gap, huh?" Dr. Murphy mused. For years women have been preoccupied with their thighs, he said, "now it's just getting reinvented under a new title." In fact, he said he hasn't noticed a trend in thigh gap-inspired procedures -- the amount of liposuction procedures done in 2012 sank 1 percent from the year before. ("It's the non-invasive stuff -- the Botox, the fillers, the lasers -- that has survived the fiscal crisis," Dr. Murphy remarked.) But that doesn't mean the perverse desire for thigh gap hasn't been spreading,particularly through social media channels populated by young women like Tumblr. Yahoo Shine notes that Twitter and Tumblr are filled with posts by women dedicated to achieving legs so skinny they don't touch, not to mention the existence of sites like Mind The Gap. And what's present in the media certainly drives what kind of bodies -- and what plastic surgery -- people want. "Media visibility puts something forward in a person's mind," said Dr. Murphy, whether it's a desire for big breasts or a flatter stomach. The Daily Mail cites models like Cara Delevingne and Candice Swanepoel as aspiration "thigh gap" examples for younger women (there is a @CarasThighGap Twitter account, as if you had any doubts), and the online world of "thinspiration" is populated with images of fashion models inadvertently flaunting thigh gap. As Dr. Murphy noted, the compulsion to get the skinny, waif-like look is as old as Kate Moss in Calvin Klein. But these days it has an actual name... and a hashtag. Read more about the thigh gap trend at and click to "The Hunger Blogs," an in-depth look at thinspiration, here.

Life is...

The moment you wanna give up...

The Difference Between The 2 Voices

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Carrie Bradshaw Wisdom...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

10 Steps To Self Care

Who are You? Loved...

Who are you? You are loved. Are you rolling your eyes at that statement? “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m loved.” I know it sounds cliché, but it is cliché because it’s true. God loves you. Let’s look at that definition of love: “A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.” Yep, that’s how God feels about you! Eating disorders can be a form of expression for us because we feel unloved and unlovable. See yourself here? Various personal experiences of rejection, abuse, neglect and bullying- some of which, even coming from our own family members- can, indeed, be difficult for any of us to fully take in and accept the truth, “I am loved, even by God.” “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’” Jeremiah 31:3 But each one of us is. It doesn’t matter who we are, what we’ve done or haven’t done. It doesn’t matter how we have sinned. God loves us, as is, right now and is thinking about us, right now. That applies to you, right now! God is quite passionate about you. Again, John 3:16 is meant directly for you. Think about how much you want to be loved right now. Multiply that by 100 and it’s only a starting point for God’s great love for you. This week of eating disorder awareness is not the only time to think about and accept something greater and more hopeful for your life. God wants you to have His blessings, help, support, and, of course, love each and every single day. Choose, then, from this day on, to define yourself, not by rigid, harmful images, definitions, weights, numbers and measurements, but rather, by all of the ways, these examples representing just a few, of exactly who- and Whose- you are!!! You are so much more than you’ve experienced! You are so much more incredible than you believe! God bless you! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Friday, March 1, 2013

Celebrities With Eating Disorders...

You’re not alone if you’re dealing with eating disorders. Here are a few celebs who have also struggled: Paula Abdul, Jane Fonda, Lynn Redgrave, Dennis Quaid, Joan Rivers, Elton John, Princess Diana There is always hope; there is always recovery! Embrace yours today!

Who are You? Beautiful...

Who are you? You are beautiful, just like this delicate and graceful dove here. Of course, we have to look at the beauty issue, don’t we? Eating disorder mindsets and behaviors can initially start in the pursuit of beauty. And most of us suffering from these things can only feel ugly and worthless, no matter what we do or don’t do. And it doesn’t help that the beauty standard is such a priority, largely due to the core of the word’s definition. “pleasing to senses: very pleasing and impressive to look at, listen to, touch” Bingo! Beauty has so much to do with being pleasing, doesn’t it? As children, we often learn some hard lessons, via preferential treatment, bullying and shunning, based on physical attributes. But again, what does God think about our appearance? “O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14 God created your body, on purpose, with every detail and characteristic. He never calls you ugly. Never! And His Word is eternally true! “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” Psalm 119:160 Can you accept it? Can you apply it? Start embracing your unshakable beauty! It IS God given and nothing can take that away!!! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse